African American Women in Cinema honored

From left Council Member Debbie Rose, AAWIC President Terra Renee and Council Member Jumaane D. Williams.
Kevin Fagan

Council Member Jumaane D. Williams (D-Brooklyn) Deputy Leader, was joined on Thursday by Speaker Corey Johnson, Public Advocate Letitia James, members of the Women’s Caucus and Black, Latino, and Asian Caucus, and other City Council Members to honor the African American Women in Cinema Film Festival with a proclamation during a ceremony in Council Chambers.

The African American Women in Cinema Film Festival is celebrating its 20th Anniversary this year.

As an organization, African American Women In Cinema (AAWIC) has served as a continuous support for the vibrant work of women filmmakers, said Williams, who represents the 45th Council District in Brooklyn.

“They provide a platform to showcase culturally important art and artists, bringing together experienced and novice filmmakers, directors, producers, screenwriters and/or actors,” Williams said. “Their mission is to expand, explore and create business opportunities for minority women filmmakers throughout the entertainment industry.”

AAWIC President Terra Renee accepted the City Council Proclamation on behalf of the organization, accompanied by Nancy Shinholster.

Williams said members of the Council conveyed their gratitude to Renee and to the entire organization for “elevating the voices and the culture of those who are too often ignored or stereotyped by the film industry.”

Williams said he was a film production student with a passion for acting.

He specifically spoke about the stereotypical roles he was asked to audition for before deciding to pursue public service, adding that his experience “emphasizes the need for organizations like the African American Women in Cinema.”

The proclamation reads, in part, “For two decades now, the African American Women in Cinema Film Festival has been a vital opportunity for artists to create and showcase their work in a field that too often neglects the contributions of women of color.

“Now, as the industry finally begins to recognize the importance of representation and inclusion, it continues to lead the way forward in its passionate advocacy for women and people of color,” the proclamation says.

“Hollywood is just finally starting to realize the contributions of women, people of more color, and both of those combined, but African American Women in Cinema has been there for 20 years,” said Williams as he presented the proclamation. “I just want to thank them for being an inspiring example, not just for women, not just for people of more color, but for everyone in the arts.”

Renee said when her group began, 20 years ago, “there was not a lot of opportunity to move forward to move ahead, and it’s been such an honor to have Council Member Jumaane Williams by our side.

“We have been able to offer filmmakers who have been struggling and trying get opportunities distribution deals, and platforms with major Hollywood individuals,” she said on receiving the proclamation. “I am just so humbled.”

This year’s festival will be held Mar. 27-31 in New York City.

More from Around NYC